Is There An Alternative To Statins For Lowering Cholesterol?January 22, 2020
When we think of having high cholesterol, the first thing that comes to our minds is to diet and exercise, right? Well, that idea would definitely make a change since the body will burn more body fat than usual. But if you go to the doctor and have your cholesterol checked, he would probably prescribe several medications that would combat your high body fats, and this would include statins. Actually, being prescribed with statins is already a given, as these drugs are the first choice in dealing with bad cholesterol. But, like most medicines available in the market nowadays, not everyone benefits from it. In fact, statins may be effective to you but not for your sister or mother. With this dilemma in mind, is there an alternative to statins for lowering cholesterol?
Alternative to statins for lowering cholesterol
What are statins? This question should be answered first before knowing what could replace them? Statins are drugs used to lower cholesterol. They help lower low-density lipoprotein (LDL or “bad”) cholesterol and raise high-density lipoprotein (HDL or “good”) cholesterol, which can help prevent heart attack and stroke. Simply put, statins prevent your body from making new cholesterol and may help reduce the amount of plaque already built up on artery walls.
What can be an alternative to statins for lowering cholesterol?
Because patients who complain of getting no benefits from statins are increasing, and doctors are aware that not all people are compatible with the use of statins, they have some more choices or options in mind. Here are some of the known options that you can use as an alternative to statins for lowering cholesterol.
Medications as an alternative to statins for lowering cholesterol
Cholesterol absorption inhibitors
Ezetimibe (Zetia) is a cholesterol absorption inhibitor that is the only generic drug available in the market today. As the name implies, ezetimibe prevents your small intestine from properly absorbing the cholesterol that you consume from food. If cholesterol cannot be absorbed, then it will not be able to reach your bloodstream. This drug may be used in combination with statins for better results, but some doctors now believe that using it alone can also be effective.
Also called bile acid-binding resins, sequestrants work by binding to the bile in your intestines and thereby blocking cholesterol absorption into your bloodstream. Drugs like cholestyramine (Locholest, Prevalite, Questran), colesevelam (WelChol), and colestipol (Colestid) can fit into this type. Though this may be an alternative to statins for lowering cholesterol, they are not as effective as other options and are mostly prescribed for patients with mild hypercholesterolemia.
This drug’s name came from a gene called proprotein convertase subtilisin/Kexin type 9 (PCSK9) which verifies the number of low-density lipoprotein (LDL) receptors in the body. These receptors then regulate how much LDL cholesterol goes into our bloodstream. By using PCSK9 inhibitors, the number of LDL receptors will be lowered, thus lowering cholesterol in the blood.
Vitamin B3 affects the triglycerides (a type of fat in the blood) which directly affects the amount of cholesterol in the body. With this input, we can deduce that niacin lowers bad cholesterol (LDL) and increases good cholesterol (HDL).
Like niacin, omega-3s also lowers cholesterol by decreasing the triglycerides in the blood. Best sources of this are found in fatty fish kinds like mackerel, trout, herring, sardines, albacore tuna, and salmon.
As mentioned earlier, maintaining a healthy and active lifestyle following a proper diet and regular exercise can, without a doubt, lower your cholesterol. Lose excess weight and eat healthier foods. Increase your intake of fiber-rich foods like fruits and vegetables. Smoking cessation and lowering your alcohol intake will also make you healthy and reduce your risk of developing heart conditions.
Aside from changing your routines and activities, you can also take natural supplements to help lower your cholesterol. You can add garlic, artichokes, legumes, barley, apples, prunes, and psyllium fiber to your diet, discuss with your doctor all your concerns about changing habits and ways of living as an effective alternative to statins for lowering cholesterol.